Airbnb canceling and blocking DC reservations during inauguration week

Technology

A woman talks on the phone at the Airbnb office headquarters in the SOMA district of San Francisco, California.

Gabrielle Lurie | Reuters

Airbnb is canceling and blocking future reservations in the Washington, D.C., metro area during the week of President-elect Joe Biden’s inauguration, the company said Wednesday.

Guests who had reserved a place will be refunded in full, the company said. It will also reimburse the Airbnb hosts with the money that would have been earned from the canceled reservations. HotelTonight reservations will also be canceled, it said.

The FBI has warned of armed protests being planned for Washington D.C. and state capitals in the run-up to the inauguration. The presidential inaugural committee, as well as D.C.’s Mayor Muriel Bowser, Maryland Governor Larry Hogan and Virginia Governor Ralph Northam, have asked people not to travel to the area for the inauguration, due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and last week’s deadly insurrection.

The stark move comes just days after the company said it would step up its safety plan ahead of the January 20 inauguration. The company previously said it would ban individuals who were involved with the U.S. Capital riots on January 6 or associated with known hate groups.

The company said Wednesday it has already identified “numerous” individuals who were either associated with hate groups or otherwise involved with the riots, and have banned them from Airbnb’s platform.

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